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HSE to get greater flexibility to reduce gap between doses

HSE to get greater flexibility to reduce gap between doses

HSE to get greater flexibility to reduce gap between doses

Thousands of people who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine may be fully vaccinated sooner than expected following new advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac).

It would mean the gap between the first and second dose will be shortened from 12 to eight weeks.

It follows recent evidence from the UK that one dose of vaccine offers less protection against the Delta variant of the virus - previously known as the Indian variant - than two jabs.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan has written to the HSE outlining the NIAC advice.

It will be a matter for the HSE to operationalise the recommendation.

The move would impact healthcare workers of all ages, people in their 60s and many people with underlying conditions who have received a first dose of AstraZeneca but are waiting on their second.

Many people in their 60s who were vaccinated in May were not expecting to receive a second jab until August.

However, it is unclear how the HSE will action this.

This is because of ongoing problems with deliveries of the AstraZeneca vaccine which have fallen short.

It may opt to give a second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine instead although this would have to be approved by Niac.

Niac notified the Chief Medical Officer of its view and Dr Tony Holohan said yesterday he had written to the HSE on the matter.

Niac looked at whether the interval between first and second doses be shortened from 12 to eight weeks,

This is to provide protection from the Indian variant.

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As of yesterday 115 cases of the variant were reported here. It is more infectious than the UK variant.

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